The Details And The Way

Some feel that the muse is stifled by too much planning. Some have gone so far as to label a condition of “World Building Syndrome” in which the drafting of the piece is put off for the planning. That is a real concern but it can be mitigated.

The benefits of an outline, and planning overall, are experienced when drafting begins to flow. Ideas that have already been explored can now be described without the need to stop and figure out what is going to happen in the story. Jumping into the draft without any initial planning is a sure fire way to accumulate 100,000 words which cannot be used. 100,000 words will have a kernel of good material floating around, and it is with our editing hats that we can begin to prospect it.

But that method is time consuming — ask the fans of George RR Martin.

For most of us, the pressure to finish a project comes from within. The external pressures are the dream. GRRM has to face hordes of fans who are not shy in expressing their displeasure at the wait. But his process is his process, and it has worked so far to create such passion. Why rush and create disappointment? Once his new work arrives, this wait will become just another memory.

We all have to find what works for us, but practicality must also be taken into consideration. Taking the time to outline, research and plan scene by scene before we begin to draft will make the actual “writing” all the more enjoyable. At this point, writers can focus on language and syntax rather than plot and characterization — both of which should have already been thoroughly explored.

Completing a fully constructed narrative is an accomplishment however it is accomplished. But many authors approach the process thinking that if they accumulate one page (250 words) a day at the end of one year they will have a novel. No, they will just have the equivalent of 365 pages, the majority of which will not be able to be used. Word counts are a way to feel accomplished without accomplishing anything. Without a detailed plan behind it, it is busy work. Once this happens, it creates frustration and is the main reason why many give up on their projects only to search for the next burst of excitement.

Create a plan and then draft. Once that happens, the projects pile up.

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